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HNA: Grey Rhino topples
into bankruptcy — February 2021

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Hainan Airlines Group is on the brink of bankruptcy, having accumulated an estimated $10bn loss for 2020. And this situation is not the fault of Covid-19.

Founded in 1993 as one of China’s first “privately-owned” airlines (albeit with the help and support of the Hainan Provincial Government), Hainan Airlines had grown at a phenomenal rate. By the end of 2019 the group had a 16% share of the Chinese airlines' market — just behind China Eastern — having grown at an annual average rate of 16% a year over the previous decade, well above the market growth of 9% a year. A Skytrax 5-star airline, it was starting to look as if it might be a real challenger to the “Big 3” state-owned carriers — Air China, China Southern and China Eastern.


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